What I’ve Learned About Baking Bread

I’ve been having some success baking bread recently.

I wish I could share with you one particular recipe I have been successful with.

But mostly I’ve been baking bread much like a musician plays a song they know “by ear”, using a mix of intuition and common sense.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

1) Observe the weather, note humidity level in the house.

2) Mix 1/2 teaspoon of yeast with 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon of salt and however much flour to make a wet dough.

3) Letting the dough enjoy an extremely long rise times in our cool autumnal house.

4) Letting the poolish or starter rise overnight, punching down, using more flour to shape into 2nd and 3rd rises.

5) Baking in a very hot oven when the dough “looks right”.

Letting the dough stay wet is important for an aerated loaf! This has brought me much success! It’s going to be a great winter of bread baking. Most pleasing to me is that my children really enjoy the fresh, homemade bread.

If anybody is looking for a wonderful book that explains bread baking, has great pictures and awesome recipes, I recommend this one:
Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day